(CNN) - A series of explosive headlines - from Benghazi e-mails to IRS scrutiny of conservative groups and complaints about the Justice Department looking at journalist phone records - show the Obama administration must work with Congress to improve transparency and prevent recurring controversies.
Rep. Darrell Issa, a Republican from California and chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said Monday on CNN's "The Situation Room " that he and his colleagues have full plate of concerns to look into.
"There's a lesson here: Government is hard, it's big, and it's hard to run," he told Wolf Blitzer. "Forgetting about politics, if you're going to get the bureaucracy to behave, it takes the House, the Senate and the White House working together."
Politics are tied into both the Benghazi and IRS situations.
Republicans question whether the Obama administration was attempting to cover up terrorism ahead of the November election when it said the deadly attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, last September 11 grew from a spontaneous demonstration.
Issa said administration e-mails in the days after the armed assault show that talking points provided to Congress and used by executive branch officials to explain the armed assault publicly misrepresented the U.S. government's understanding of events at the time.
But the e-mails were not provided to Issa's committee and "had we received this, we would have recognized immediately that there was a progression from truth to lie in twelve changes," he said, speaking about the number of revisions to the document.
President Barack Obama, meanwhile, asserted on Monday that "political motivations" were behind continued Republican attention to the administration's response.
Issa rejected that.
"We had a serious hearing with serious career State Department officials," he said, referring to last week's testimony from officials described by Republicans as "whistleblowers."
One of them said an independent panel that reviewed the U.S. response did not assign blame high enough up the ranks.
"At some point, claiming politics is simply the wrong approach," Issa said.
Issa also was concerned about the Internal Revenue Service's scrutiny of applications by conservative groups for non-profit status – an examination that conservatives assert was politically motivated.
The agency has said mistakes were made but that IRS agents were looking for groups whose activities may have been outside the guidelines for non-profits.
Some critics say the case smacks of the kind of dirty politics against public figures and others that was notorious in past generations.
"This could have been Martin Luther King a generation ago. This could have been the left during the Vietnam War," he said. "We have to make sure that this can't happen again."
Issa said he believes Obama's comment on Monday that he only found out about the practice through news reports. Regardless, Issa said the system is broken.
"We don't know how high it went. What we know, and this is the disturbing part ... it was discovered and stopped and it continued," he said. "And the whole time that was going on there were denials that it was going on."
He also said a complaint by attorneys for the Associated Press that the Justice Department secretly collected two months of phone records – including work, home and cell accounts - of reporters and editors as part of a leak investigation was an overreach.
Issa said had Congress done such a thing, the administration would be "outraged."
Overall, Issa said, these events show a need for the two parties and sides of Pennsylvania Avenue to cooperate.
"This transparent government hasn't understood that we serve a constructive role if they'll let us," he continued, saying Obama needs to "understand that we want to work with him on real reform. We want to work with him on helping get the bureaucracy to deliver a better product than it currently does."